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Cinco De Mayo - A Delicious Celebration
While Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "fifth of May") is a small regional holiday in Mexico commemorating the Battle of Puebla, it’s become a popular celebration in the States.
HALF MOON EMPANADAS
HOMEMADE BISCUIT DOUGH -- SIMILAR TO PIE CRUST -- MAKES 1 LB. 4 OZ. DOUGH*
2 cups self-rising flour sifted into a large bowl
1/2 cup lard or shortening, chilled and diced
3/4 cup cold milk
Put lard in the middle of the flour and, with your fingers, mix together. Add half the milk and mix well with your fingers; add remaining milk and knead to make dough easy to handle, adding more flour if necessary, if too wet. Divide dough into 20 1-ounce pieces (to roll out 4-inch rounds) or, if you’d prefer larger Empanadas, 10 2-ounce pieces (to roll out 6-inch rounds).
Preheat oven to 400°. Using the filling choices below, place 2 tablespoons on one side of 4-inch round (4 tablespoons for 6-inch). Wet fingers with water and moisten inside edges of the dough. Gently stretch dough over filling to make a half moon shape; press edges to seal. Bake Empanadas about 14 minutes (for 4-inch) – 18 minutes (6-inch) or until golden light brown. Serve warm.
Tip: You can also place on baking sheet, wrap and refrigerate until baking time or, freeze filled Empanadas until needed.
*If using refrigerated biscuit dough or dinner roll dough, roll pieces out to same size and bake at temperature suggested by manufacturer.
POTATO-CHEESE FILLING - MAKES 3-1/2 CUPS FILLING
1-1/4 cups mashed potato**
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 4-ounce tin diced green chilies, not drained
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
3 - 4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups finely chopped green onions (white and green parts, about 2 bunches)
6 ounces diced Jarlsberg cheese
In medium size bowl, mix cumin and chilies (with liquid) into mashed potatoes; set aside. Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Spray pan with oil; add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add green onions and cook 1 minute or until just beginning to wilt; stir into potato mixture. Mix cheese into potatoes.
**If using dried potato flakes, boil 1 cup water + 1/3 cup milk + 1 tablespoon butter
in saucepan. Take off heat and stir in 1 cup dried potato flakes; add salt to taste.
BEEF, RAISIN AND OLIVE - MAKES 3-1/2 CUPS FILLING
1/2 pound lean ground beef
4 - 6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 - 3 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 cup finely chopped salad olives
1/2 cup, washed and dried, packed chopped cilantro (stems included)
1/2 cup moist raisins, chopped (if raisins are very dry, moisten in a cup of very hot
water for 20 minutes)
6 ounces diced Gran Maestre Manchego cheese
In large skillet, cook beef until no longer pink. Push meat to the sides of pan and add garlic in the center; cook one minute. Add chili powder and remove from heat. When cool enough to handle, mix in olives, cilantro, and cheese.
CHICKEN-CHEESE CHORIZO - MAKES 3-1/2 CUPS
1-1/2 cups diced chorizo
1-1/2 cups cooked chicken, shredded OR diced
2/3 cup mashed potatoes
6 ounces diced Manchego (you can also use Jarlsberg or a good Cheddar)
1/3 cup packed chopped parsley (stems included)
Salt and pepper, to taste
In skillet, cook chorizo over medium heat for 6 - 8 minutes or until oil is released. Transfer to a bowl and mix in chicken, potato, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper, to taste.
ENSALADA OAXAQUEÑA (OAXACAN SALAD)
Whisk and set aside:
½ cup Tamarind paste
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1/ 2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon chile chipotle adobo
Salt and pepper to taste
Organic lettuce mix with small pieces of dry Mexican pasilla chili (poblano) pepper (deseeded), fried until crispy (and dried on paper towel). Top with strips of baked corn tortilla and roasted scallions with a variety of tomatillos (chopped or whole) and medallions of goat cheese (Woolwich Dairy Chevrai, a soft, unripened goat cheese, preferred). Serve with dressing.
Courtesy of Chef Pilar Cabrera: http://www.laolla.com.mx
HIBISCUS SOUR MARGARITA
2 oz Tequila
1 oz Pressed Pineapple Juice
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3/4 oz syrup, from Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup
1/2 oz Egg white
Wild Hibiscus Flower
Shake all liquid ingredients together on ice vigourously for 10 seconds, then strain over
cracked ice into a highball glass. Garnish with a skewered Wild Hibiscus Flower.
Cocktail created by Danielle Tatarin, www.designercocktail.com;